Taking a bar exam in February? With just over a month left to prepare, panic often sets in around this time. Fortunately, the Goodson Law Library can help, no matter the jurisdiction.
The most useful resource for North Carolina exam takers is the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners site (http://www.ncble.org/). This site offers past exams back to 2005 free for download, for those who would like a peek at the structure of state-specific essay questions. (Older essay questions are available in the library at the call number KFN7476 .N671; the latest exam available in print is 2003.) The North Carolina Bar Association has also prepared a brief guide to Drafting a Bar Exam Essay Answer (KFN7476.Z9 D73 2004), with tips and tricks for NC test takers. An updated version of this pamphlet is available in PDF at http://younglawyersdivision.ncbar.org/LegalResources/Publications/5511.aspx.
For bar examinations in other states, there is a collection of past exams in the Microforms Collection on Level 1 of the library (cabinet # 35, top drawer). Available dates vary widely by state, although many of the most popular bar exam destinations for Duke Law (such as California, Georgia and Massachusetts) have received past exams up to February 2008. To see what years are available for a particular state, search the Duke Libraries catalog (http://catalog.library.duke.edu) for the subject keywords bar examinations and [state]; e.g. bar examinations and Maryland.
Many states also make past exams available for free on their bar exam websites, such as New York’s page of Past Exam Questions (http://www.nybarexam.org/ExamQuestions/ExamQuestions.htm). Visit http://www.ncbex.org/bar-admissions/offices/ to locate the Board of Law Examiners site for your state.
To help prepare for the Multistate Bar Examination portion, consult Walton, Strategies and Tactics for the MBE (Reserves). Some basic information about the MBE structure and subject matter is also available from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (http://www.ncbex.org/multistate-tests/mbe/), although this site does not provide free past exams or sample questions.
Other general study guides applicable to any bar exam include: Darrow-Kleinhaus, The Bar Exam in a Nutshell (Reserves); Friedland, Essential Rules for Bar Exam Success (KF303 .F75 2008); and Riebe & Schwartz, Pass the Bar (KF303 .R54 2006). To find more, search the Duke Libraries catalog (http://catalog.library.duke.edu) for the subject keywords bar examinations—united states. Good luck!